What style of drawing can I enter?

There is no restriction on the style of drawing, in fact we encourage experimentation and creativity. Here are some possible styles of drawing to consider:

  • traditional realism
  • contemporary realism
  • academic
  • abstract
  • illustration
  • sketchbook
  • conceptual
  • rough sketch or study
  • ...anything else!

In other words, if it's a drawing using the competition theme, you can enter it.

We will not consider anything containing gratuitous violence or pornography, however. Let's keep this classy!

And it should go without saying that submitting Artificial Intelligence-generated work, and copying someone else's artwork or photography is prohibited.

Original artwork only please! And of course you can use your own photos for reference if needed.

What are the prizes?

Our sponsor is pleased to offer $1,200 in cash awards this year:

1st Place $500
2nd Place $400
3rd Place $300

And all of the 25 finalists receive certificates.

Four Juror's Prizes are also awarded - these are items of appreciation and change each year.

The Juror's Prizes are unique to this competition -- each juror can choose one piece of work from the complete array of entrants, and award them a prize for any reason. Sometimes the drawing resonates personally with a juror, sometimes the juror awards a Prize based on artistic merit. Either way, it is an additional way to recognize the art of drawing beyond the three cash prize winners.

Prizes and awards will be announced September 21, 2025 by email, and posted on the Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize website.

The finalists’ work will be displayed on the Martha’s Vineyard Drawing Prize website for one year, including biographic information and links to their websites/social media.

What drawing media can I use? Is digital drawing allowed? What about colored pencils?

Drawing media such as pencils, graphite, charcoal, pen & ink, Conte crayon, silverpoint, and colored pencil are the approved media for this competition. Colored chalk and pastel can be used, if the style is drawing, and not painting. Please see the judging criteria here in the FAQs to see if your work will be appropriate.

We are not including digital art at this time. Also, please do not submit AI-generated artwork. We are interested in YOUR ideas and drawings!

Here's a complete list of approved media:

  • Pencil - graphite, ebony
  • Charcoal - black, white
  • Conte crayon - black, raw umber, terra cotta, sanguine, and white
  • Silverpoint
  • Pen & Ink - black, brown, white, blue
  • colored pencils
  • colored chalk and pastel

To understand how the artwork will be judged, please see the FAQ 'What are the judging criteria?'

If you are not sure whether your drawing material qualifies, or if you use mixed media or an unusual substrate, feel free to contact the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize staff via our Contact Us page.

Does my drawing have to be done on paper or board?

Although past competitions have specified paper or board for the drawings, this rule has been changed, and we will be happy to see your drawing on whatever substrate you prefer to use.

At this time, the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize is for non-digital artwork.


If you are not sure whether your drawing material is suitable, feel free to contact the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize staff via our Contact Us page.

Do I need to frame and ship my drawing?

No, there is no need to frame and ship your drawing. This is an online exhibition, and the finalists and competition winners will all be displayed on this website for a year. All you need to do is take a good photograph of your drawing before you enter the competition, so that the jurors can see the details clearly.

This will make it a lot easier for you to enter the competition, and will keep your costs down. So consider entering more than one drawing! You can enter up to 3 drawings for the $10 entry fee.

What will be the judging criteria?

The jurors will be looking at each piece, no matter the media, for the following criteria:

Creativity:

  • How did the artist interpret the theme? Will the jurors be surprised and interested by the concept? Did the work grab their attention?

Skill & Technique:

  • Did the artist handle their medium in a way that indicates a level of drawing excellence? Is there quality to the linework, a confidence to the rendering? Does the artist have good control over values and textures (if applicable)?

Overall impression of the artwork:

  • Does it stand on its own as a complete and outstanding drawing?

Each juror brings to the judging their own experience and thoughts about art, which is why 3 jurors representing different aspects of the art world are chosen, and the jurors change each year. All decisions by the jurors are final.

Who will be the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize jurors?

Each year we select one collector, one gallery director, and one artist to be the jurors. Each of these representatives of the art world brings a different view point to the judging.

The jurors will not be engaging in communication about the art submissions before/during/after the judging, and their decisions are final.

Elizabeth Whelan does not judge the artwork herself, however, she will be overseeing the process.

Can I enter an older drawing, or does it need to be new?

  • Starting in 2023, you can enter artwork created at any time, however, please enter artwork only about this year's theme.

  • Please avoid re-submitting work previously entered to this competition, unless the subject is precisely on this year's theme.

  • Winners and finalists will be chosen on artistic merit, AND on whether the artwork is about this year's theme.

  • Please expand your creative horizons by working specifically on the theme and submitting drawings that reflect your current skill level.

  • As you can submit up to 3 drawings for the one entry fee, you have an opportunity to experiment and try some new ideas.

How will I know if my work won a prize or award?

All entrants will be notified of the final decisions via email on Sunday, September 21, 2025, to the email address that you used when you entered your work. (If you do not receive a notification, please check your email spam folder.)

The finalists and award winners will also be announced on this website on the same day.

How does the Call for Entry website work?

If you are new to the Call for Entry (CaFE) website, click here for their ARTIST SIGN UP and register on the site. This is free.

When your drawing images are ready, upload your image(s) of your drawing(s) to an online portfolio in your ARTIST account -- this is also free. There are size requirements for the digital images:

  • File Type: JPEG or JPG only
  • File Dimensions: 1,200 pixels or greater on the longest side
  • File Size: Under 5 MB

After the call has opened (usually in the spring of each year) you can navigate to the Martha's Vineyard Drawing Prize call, click on the green APPLY NOW button and follow the instructions. If you follow the link too early before the call has opened, you may still see last year's information.

You will have the opportunity with each entry to write a little about your drawings and how they relate to the theme. (You will have a 1000 character limit, so we suggest writing that before you start the application process so that your screen doesn't time out. Speaking from experience....)

You will pay a $10 entry fee for this call--and can select up to 3 images from the portfolio you created.

That's it! We will contact you to let you know your art was received, and the finalists and awards will be announced Sunday, September 21, 2025.

(There are also other interesting Calls for Artists on the Call For Entry website! Click this link to see the entire list, which updates as calls come and go. There are competitions, grants, residencies, etc. Once you have images uploaded to your portfolio, you can enter them in other appropriate calls. Some have fees, some do not, so read the guidelines for each call in which you are interested.)